No Place Like Home
(page 4 of 4)
“But what about socialization?”
That’s the question most homeschooling families get when they announce their intentions. And in fact, when Diane and Roy Speed decided to homeschool their kids 11 years ago, other homeschooling families were not easy to find. “There was only one homeschooling newsletter that connected families all over the state,” says Diane.
Today, most homeschooled kids will tell you that they’re always on the go. If they encounter awkward situations, it’s not due to lack of exposure to other children. There are homeschooling co-ops around the state that offer a variety of classes, field trips, curricula and opportunities for families to get together. Families can sign up for any number of daily or weekly e-blasts that provide scores of choices. The growth of the Internet also has opened up worlds for homeschoolers, who use it to take courses, research and stay in touch.
For example, the Speeds’ Classical Kids group offers a monthly Kids Forum, where students of all ages can present work they’re doing at home. (That’s where Tristan will give a discourse on Socrates.) WCHC has organized classes around everything from poetry, mock trials, sign language and astronomy to aviation, foreign languages, yoga and cooking. Other homeschoolers mention going to Girl or Boy Scouts, Little League, book discussion groups, Dungeons and Dragons groups and other outside organized activities. Holden Speed says that “being homeschooled teaches me about people. At our Kids Forum, I really learn how to work and cooperate with other kids who might be older or younger than me.”
Then there is the question of how homeschooled students fare once they graduate. Can they fit in? Can they handle the structure of college? According to NHERI president Ray, research so far shows that they are going to college at a rate a little bit higher than the national average. “Their GPAs on average are higher at college,” he says. “Those who take the SAT/ACT tests have on average higher scores than public school students and they’re more likely to take leadership positions in college than those from public and private schools.”
Anecdotally, Lisa Lavoie at Tunxis Community College, concurs: “We’ve had students start with us after their homeschooling, and then transfer to Cornell, Brown, UConn and Trinity College.”
Luz Shosie, of Guilford, “unschooled” her son Cassidy, now 33. “When he went to Hunter College, his schoolmates asked him for help because they were used to being told what to do all their lives. His life had always been about figuring out what he wanted to do and how to do it,” says Shosie. “He graduated magna cum laude.”
Some of the best aspects of homeschooling, however, may not be found in test scores or college admittance rates. While Donna Person and her husband, Peter, originally pursued homeschooling with their five children in order to be able “to integrate Christian values into everyday life,” she discovered something else over the years: “What I came to understand is that homeschooling really keeps your family together. I think the children appreciate most the opportunity to spend time together, and the closeness that comes from exploring the world as a family. We don’t have to wait to talk about what’s on our minds. We talk all day long.”